Category Archives: Pop Culture Trends

My first NY Fashion Week shoot was a celeb bonanza! 

Sometimes my job is cool.

Granted my feet are killing me because I just stood on a sidewalk for three hours crammed next to pushy photographers elbowing me for the same two feet of space.

But it was fun watching all the giant black SUVs pull up to the door of the Tom Ford show, and guessing who would emerge from the car.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson prove romance never goes out of style

No surprise that the fashion darling attracted big stars. He’s dressed A-listers like Julianne Moore and Naomi Watts for years.

Julianne Moore at Tom Ford fall show 2016

Julianne Moore has been Ford’s muse on film and on the carpet.

The exclusive guest list included many fashion icons….

Iman at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Iman arrived solo which made me sad.


Naomi Campbell at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Naomi Campbell almost didn’t stop for photographers but finally gave us a few classic poses.

The hottest pop culture and music stars were also represented.

Karlie Kloss at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Karlie Kloss. #squadgoals


Alicia Keys at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Alicia Keys keeping it real with minimum makeup and husband Swizz Beatz

 

Zayn at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Zayn (cue the screaming girls)

And of course a few starlets thrown in for good measure.

Uma Thurman at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Uma Thurman owning the glam


Gina Gershon at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Where has Gina Gershon been?


Hailee Steinfeld at Tom Ford fall fashion  show

Hailee Steinfeld werking it

Who was the best dressed?

My vote is for Cindy Crawford.


She looked amazing in this white gown –her body toned and hair and makeup understated. Perfection.

Apologies for the amateur photography. The iPhone doesn’t take great pix when there are so many flashes going off at once so the lighting is off in many of these. My phone was in shutter shock!

But all worth it for a night on the town. Now if only I could get inside the show.

I took these stealth photos of the runway through an obstructed view window in the back of the building.


Maybe from the front row next year!

My night with Babs and other recent events worth sharing

Hello Gorgeous!Barbra Streisand on tour at Barclays on Aug 11

That’s the theme of this post. Streisand fans will know it’s one of her famous lines from “Funny Girl.” I went to see her last week at the Barclays Center in her hometown.  She made her grand entrance (she doesn’t do anything small) in a black sparkly jumpsuit complete with black sheer batwings for effect. Her first words to the sold-out crowd?  “Hello Brooklyn!”

Barbra Streisand on tour at Barclays on Aug 11

Her voice is still like buttah

The doting audience of mostly septegenerians in their own fancy pantsuits and sweater sets (despite the steamy NYC weather)  howled and cheered.

I loved her show– part of a world tour for her new album, ” Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway” –and was thrilled to scratch seeing her live off my pop culture bucket list. She was everything I could have hoped for after following her career all these years.

Barbra Streisand on tour at Barclays on Aug 11

The show was organized, thoughtful, intimate and moving. The audience kvelled as she opened with “The Way We Were”– gently easing us through the misty water-color memories. She sang one hit song from each iconic album of every decade since the 60’s– and we all marveled at how many recognizable songs she has. And that was all before the 20 minute intermission. (Who has a real intermission at a concert anymore?)

Her second act was favorites from show tunes to ballads, many written by close friends and brilliant composers including Julie Stein, Marvin Hamlisch and Barry Gibb specifically tailored to Barbra’s unique sound.

Barbra Streisand on tour at Barclays on Aug 11

Here she’s pointing out how the record company photo shopped her nose to look thinner. She was not pleased!

Her voice is still strong and rich, and each song was interpreted with respect to the original, but new flare. The best part was how much she chatted between songs. She talked about the history of certain album covers, her iconic outfits and accessories, and those who helped and inspired her along the way.

She got political several times, proudly declaring her support for Hillary, which was met by mostly cheers from the crowd of devotees.

Barbra Streisand on tour at Barclays on Aug 11

She brought Jamie Foxx and Patrick Wilson onstage to sing separate duets from the new album, which was a fun surprise. Both sang with power and literally bowed down to Babs before exiting the stage.

It was like spending the evening with an old friend.

My father was a HUGE Barbra fan and her music was on the playlist of my childhood. Hearing all those songs again– still sounding so good– was like tonic for the heart. Nostalgic and sweet ….and isn’t that why music is so powerful?

In other news…. I have a nephew! I’m a first-time aunt to one Cooper George Lefferts.

Eli is a great cousin!

Isn’t he just the cutest?

IMG_4829

I hold him and feed him and smell his soft mushy head. I sway him and tickle his feet and love him up, before turning him over to his very tired parents.

Hello gorgeous!

brooke and coop aug 2016

Aunthood rocks.

I’m still plugging away at my job. It’s been nearly six months and although it can be overwhelming and stressful, covering entertainment news is cool and the days go by very quickly.

And once in a while I get a perk… like interviewing a celeb I admire.

Paul Reiser stops by the AP

Actor/comedian Paul Reiser came in to talk about the anniversary of “Mad About You.” I gave him sun butter and rice cakes and he made me laugh a lot.

Blake Lively was smart, sweet and easy to interview.

Daveed Diggs at the AP

IMG_4811

Hello Gorgeous!

brooke and daveed diggs

Shortly after he came in, actor/rapper Daveed Diggs won a Tony for his roles as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in “Hamilton”

But now it’s time for a break. I’m leaving for Israel at the end of the week to celebrate Aden’s bar mitzvah with family in the Holy Land.

Will blog about that gorgeous place when I return!

Can you survive an hour without wifi? A test.

I had time to kill in Manhattan last week between work and dinner with friends. That hour or so turned into an interesting experiment that shed light on where I am on the scale of phone addiction.

iPhoneIt was one of those amazing unseasonably warm evenings we’ve been having here in the Tri-State area (thanks global warming) and I was on the Upper West Side and had to get to east Midtown so I decided to take a subway and walk.

There was no cell service in the subway and it’s awkward to read your phone while walking, especially in New York, where you can run into a street sign, construction zone, or really pissed off person in a hurry if you aren’t looking where you’re going. I forgot my headphones so listening to music or a podcast was not an option.

So for about an hour I didn’t look at my phone. No big deal, right?

Have you done it recently? Have you been out and about — not at work or in a movie or exercising or distracted by life at home– but out in the world during prime texting/emailing time and not felt compelled to look at your smart device?

It’s probably more difficult than you think.

I consider myself a thoughtful, balanced person who knows that I should not be sucked into screen time and should live in the moment and enjoy what’s going on around me. I’m constantly scolding my boys for excessive screen time. “Your mind will turn to mush if you watch one more episode of Hawaii 5-0!!” I yell emphatically. “No phones at the dinner table!”

cell phone ban graphic/ carpoolcandy.com

But there I was walking up Broadway holding my handbag on one arm and clutching my iPhone for dear life in the other, willing myself not to look at it. Once I sensed my anxiety, I started to become acutely aware of the temptation to check for a new text or email, or to scroll through Facebook or Twitter.

Then it became a game. I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t need to check my phone as I walked through the crowded streets during rush hour. I could use the time to think.

Remember free thinking?

I often find I come up with some of my best ideas while in the shower. That 10-12 minutes of warm water and meditative sounds provide clarity. I remember things for my to-do list, generate story ideas for articles or blogs, and even work through tough writing tasks for ongoing projects.

But in the shower I have no choice. Looking at my phone is not an option.

On the street, I started to feel restless. I was surprised and a little embarrassed as I realized my co-dependence on that small screen in my palm. I forced myself to use the time to look around, take in the people-watching– no place better than New York for that– and see where my thoughts would lead me.

It was a humbling exercise.

When did I turn into such an information addict? I know intellectually that so much of my attention spent online is wasted.

Social Media Relationship Rules

Social media sucks me in the way TV consumed me when I had more time to watch it. I’m a pop culture and news junkie, and I’m interested in people so I find it all impossible to resist.

But there’s something to be said for being with your thoughts. I know I’m not allowing myself that luxury enough. Are you?

 

U2 at MSG or How Bono and FOMO don’t mix

Monday, I decided to get last-minute tickets to see U2 at Madison Square Garden. They’re my favorite rock band (unless Bruce and the E Street Band count) and I’ve seen them live many times. I wanted to get tickets when they went on sale months ago– and even put an alarm in my phone– but on that day some domestic distraction prevented me from getting on the phone or computer at the right time and by the time I did, decent seats were sold out.

I was disappointed and mad at myself so I did what I often do (and wish I didn’t) I avoided the problem until too late, because it was too painful to deal.

U2 2015 tour poster

Then our own personal Ticketmaster– Wilson’s brother, Jon– got four free tickets in a box for a Saturday night two weeks ago. I was thrilled.

Until I realized it conflicted with my BlogHer plans. I couldn’t ditch my out-of- town guest and all the fun of BlogHerpalooza so I gave my ticket up and Wilson went with his cousin.

But you may remember that a few weeks ago, my sister-in-law got tickets an hour before the Taylor Swift concert, and got great seats. So I decided I would be fun and spontaneous and try to score tickets the day of the concert. I was already in the city for work and had to pass MSG to get to Penn Station for my train home so it seemed like a low-risk, high-excitment endeavor.

I solicited my friend, Karen, to go and she enthusiastically returned my text: “OMG that would be so much fun!” she replied encouragingly.

Buoyed by Karen’s whimsy and dreams of getting a wink from the Edge from my last-minute floor seat, I checked StubHub for tickets. The cheapest seats started at $180 and they were behind the stage. Not good.

Wilson told me the show featured a giant screen that ran the length of the venue so if we were behind the stage we would miss all the action and visuals. Although it was a Monday night and they were playing like 8 shows in NYC, there were barely any seats available and they ranged from $350-850. Each! 

I was feeling impulsive and crazy, but not that crazy.

I downloaded the StubHub app to my phone and began obsessively checking for seats. I went to the StubHub office in midtown, hoping I could charm someone there into state secrets on how to get last-minute seats that didn’t cost as much as a pair of Bono’s custom sunglasses.

MSG seating grid on carpoolcandy.com

I looked at the MSG seating chart about 100x in 12 hours.

It’s really kind of insane how much you have to fork over to see live music these days. Like cuckoo.

But I digress.

So Karen and I show up at MSG and stand in a line for people without tickets hoping to get last-minute releases. We knew that line of at least 20 people was not bearing fruit, but that line is how scalpers know you are in need.

We surveyed the situation and were approached by at least three scalpers. The first had only three teeth and very dirty shoes– no joke– and seemed pissed off. We didn’t engage him.

Another seemed sketchy and only talked out of the side of his mouth, while darting his eyes around, probably scanning for cops, who were lingering close by. We weren’t sure if we could get arrested for buying tickets from a scalper or if only the scalpers were at risk.

Did I mention Karen is a lawyer and very practical? Between that and my fear of making a bad choice that would put us out up to $500, we were not terrific scalper customers.

But we found one guy– let’s call him Joe Tickets, cuz that’s the name he gave me when I got his cell phone later– whom I trusted. He looked me in the eye, he was funny and he seemed to have a more honest face than the others. He said he would give us a ticket for one of us to go inside and find the seats to ensure they were legit. Then the other person would give him the cash for both tickets and get the other ticket. Seemed foolproof.

U2 MSG 2015

He had two tickets in a decent section for $250 each. $50 more than we wanted to pay, but it was now 8:10pm and the show was starting in 10 minutes so we began to feel desperate.

But that desperate feeling also made us doubt ourselves. We saw a couple buy the tickets from Joe and the husband disappeared while the wife waited outside for the call. She eventually wandered away so Joe’s tickets seemed to be the real thing (just like the U2 song.)

We hesitated….and just like that… the tickets were gone.  Joe whispered into several other dudes’ ears, but all the seats were taken and the music had already started.

So much for spontaneity.

disappointed fans on carpoolcandy.com

We walked into Penn Station (no place to lick your wounds) in a daze. We kind of couldn’t believe we really weren’t seeing U2. This isn’t how we pictured the story ending.

I attribute much of my initial excitement and subsequent disappointment to my acute case of FOMO (fear of missing out.) I get an idea in my head that I want to do something– it can be a pop culture event like this, or a party, or even a family activity– and I start to get anxious if I have a conflict and can’t make it happen.

I missed the “last” Grateful Dead shows in my home town a few weeks ago….U2 for BlogHer…I went to Taylor Swift and didn’t get to see The Wailers playing at Maplewoodstock….Wilson had only 4 tickets to the Met game and didn’t have enough tickets for me.

First world problems, I know. Woe is lucky me. But I can get my panties in a twist over missing stuff, and I cant figure out why. It happens with events, but also TV shows, movies, vacation spots. What personality defect does this reflect?

You know what doesn’t help my FOMO issues? Fucking Facebook.

FOMO graphic

As Karen and I sheepishly boarded our train home, we chatted a bit before checking our phones. I went onto Facebook to retrieve a message. As I scrolled through, I saw at least three friends posting photos from inside the show I was missing at that exact moment.

Photos, videos, and excited bursts of concert joy rattled and hummed on my feed. I hated them all.

We still hadn’t found what we’re looking for.

By the next day, the feelings of disappointment and regret had subsided and I realized that, of course, there will be other concerts. Karen and I had fun and impromptu dinner and drinks that never would have happened.

That’s the lesson I’m still striving to learn. To be present and satisfied with the moment I’m in. Cuz most of them are pretty great.

What gives you FOMO? Tell me in the comments.

If you’re not listening to podcasts, you’re missing out

In the last few months, I’ve become slightly (and my family will tell you alarmingly) obsessed with listening to podcasts on my phone. When I try to talk to my contemporaries about them, most give me a puzzled look and wonder how I find the time.

The best part about listening to podcasts is that you don’t have to find time, they help you pass the time.podcast icon on carpoolcandy.com

I listen when walking the dog, walking home from the train station, and cleaning up the house. I used to get so irritable when faced with unloading the dishwasher (the most banal, odious house tasks of all) or weeding ill-fitting clothes from my kids’ closets — but now I attack such chores with glee because I’m learning something while I work.

Most people in the pop-culture-know have heard of the smash podcast hit Serial on PBS. I listened to that crime story with my family on a few road trips and was fascinated, but there’s so much more out there. serial itunes logo on carpoolcandy.comWhat I like about the podcasts I’ve been listening to is they’re an uninterrupted hour-plus with a person or story that interests me and teaches me something. Whether it’s the common emotional experience I recognize in a story on The Moth, or Dustin Hoffman talking to Alec Baldwin about what it was like to film The Graduate, it’s all thought-provoking and often inspiring.

the moth podcast graphic on carpoolcandy.com

If you liked Serial, or you’re just intrigued by people and why they do the things they do, you’ll like the tales told on The Moth and This American Life. They run the gamut of topics and experiences, and hearing people’s voices whispering stories into your ears creates a compelling, intimate feeling.

This American Life podcast graphic on carpoolcandy.com

Then, my friend, Julie, recommended I listen to my writing hero Lena Dunham on actor/comedian Jeff Garlin’s podcast, By the Way, In Conversation. It sounds melodramatic to say it was life changing, right? Let’s just say I’ve been listening to an average of 3-4 podcasts a week ever since.

Discovering Garlin’s podcast was, perhaps, like anything amazing you try for the first time– salted caramel ice cream, riding a perfect wave in the ocean, sleeping at a fancy hotel– it’s so good, nothing else quite compares. I find Garlin extremely entertaining. He’s smart, irreverent, and curious about everything from life’s big questions (“Are you scared of death?”) to the mundane (“How many times a week do you do pilates?’)by the way podcast graphic on carpool candy.com

But he doesn’t suffer fools, and he’s not into promoting crap, so he only brings on guests he likes, either personally or respects professionally. He’s been in comedy for decades, from standup to TV, to movies so listening to him talk to his buddies like Conan O’Brien or Bob Odenkirk about the old days is like a master class in comedy. (Other great episodes include Larry DavidWill Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Judd Apatow.)

I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to every single By the Way available, and sadly Garlin stopped recording them to star in his TV comedy, The Goldbergs, so I had to move on. One great episode of BTW featured comedian and fellow podcaster, Marc Maron. Unofficially the grandaddy of podcasters, Maron’s WTF (yes, it stands for what you think) started back in 2009 in his garage.

WTF with Marc Maron podcast graphic on carpoolcandy.com

Maron still often broadcasts from his garage, hosting many comedians but also musicians, actors, and newsmakers. I started binge listening to WTF but found Maron a mixed bag.  He gets groovy guests (his podcast made news last week when President Obama spoke frankly about racism on his show, ) he’s naturally curious and asks digging questions. His disarming, self-deprecating nature allows guests to go deep.

But he’s extremely neurotic, sometimes seems to do very little research on his guests, and often spends the first 20 minutes on a personal rant about things not usually of interest to me. BUT, there have been several fascinating hours of conversation so if he has a guest I like, it’s usually a good listen. Slate named Maron’s two-part episode with his friend Louis CK the best podcast ever and I highly recommend it. The two used to be friends but jealousy and uneven success tangled their relationship over many years. It’s like being a fly on the wall in a really funny session of couple’s therapy.  For other great Maron episodes click here.

heres the thing alec baldwin podcast graphic on carpoolcandy.com

After picking through Maron’s list, I heard about Alec Baldwin’s online interviews on WNYC’s Here’s the Thing. Baldwin’s podcast has quickly become my favorite (after exhausting all the BTWs) because he’s an excellent interviewer and gets an impressive potpourri of guests, most of whom I’d love to interview myself. He’s an active listener, asks great follow ups, and he’s funny and deferential– not a side of him seen often in public.

Great gets like David Letterman, Lorne Michaels, and Dick Cavett tell Baldwin stories I haven’t heard before on every practiced talk show appearance. It’s interesting to hear two actors talking about their craft, but Baldwin also gets notables from the world of sports, politics, books, and media. I highly recommend his chats with Billy Joel,  John McEnroe, Sarah Jessica Parker, and  Jerry Seinfeld.  koppelman the moment podcast graphic on carpoolcandy.com

As a writer, I love hearing about how other writers and artists create. I’ve been on a recent bender soaking up Brian Koppleman’s The Moment podcasts, which focus on people who’ve done incredible things in their respective fields, and the time in their lives when everything changed and led to their ultimate success.

Koppelman– a successful screenwriter and producer– seems to be friends with everyone who’s anyone in movies, music, comedy, books, media, and even food on both coasts. He lures them in to his confessional recording booth to reflect on the dark moments that came before the spotlight, or the epiphany that drove them to achieve. While Koppelman has an exuberant tendency to talk over his guests, he hosts a richly diverse cast of characters who come ready to talk, no matter where he pushes them to go. I recommend his lively chats with Amy Schumer, Killer Mike, and Ellen Barkin.  

BS Report podcast logo on carpoolcandy.com

I’ve tried a few other podcasts, but none have kept my attention as much as the ones above. A few people recommended Bill Simmons’ BS Report on Grantland but now that he lost his deal with ESPN, his podcast has no home. If you like sports, you can still go back and listen to past guests. Simmons is a sharp guy and I enjoyed some of his interviews with celebrities. I’ll even admit getting sucked into a few episodes about the NBA– despite my lack of knowledge and interest– because he’s that good at what he does. I’m sure he’ll end up somewhere soon.

I’m presently hooked on all the above, but there’s always room for more, so please send suggestions my way in the comments. Happy listening!

Staycation 2015: the week in photos

My kids were on spring break last week and we stayed home because Jacob had 5 baseball games. Was I bitter? Maybe a little. But it was actually nice to be home with few plans and time for the kids to relax.

My boys overindulged on-screen time for sure, but I planned at least one outing a day to make sure they got some stimulation that didn’t include a remote or joystick (I know, no one calls them joytsicks anymore but ‘Xbox controller’ is so undescriptive.)

We’re so lucky to have New York City in our back yard, and I took them in a few times to get a change of scenery and sneak in some culture without the boys realizing it.

Here are the highlights of the week in photos…..

Walking the High Line NYC on carpoolcandy.com

I met two gal pals at Penn Station Friday night. We were having dinner with our husbands in Chelsea at 7pm so we bought ourselves chilled mini wine bottles (at the little store by the stairs to the Garden) which we dumped in paper cups. Then we picked up the High Line at 31st St. and 11th Avenue to walk to the restaurant.

There’s nothing like an outdoor cocktail hour, walking above Manhattan, and people watching on the High Line on a lovely spring evening!

Home/Dreamworks movie poster on carpoolcandy.com

Home/Dreamworks

On Monday I took Eli to see the animated movie Home. We both liked it a lot– it’s a very sweet and engaging story, with characters voiced by Rihanna, Jim Parsons, JLo, and Steve Martin. I also like any excuse to eat movie popcorn.

Batting cages at Frozen Ropes on carpoolcandy.com

Tuesday I took Aden and Eli to the batting cages at Frozen Ropes to hit balls off a pitching machine.

Batting cages at Frozen Ropes on carpoolcandy.com

It aint cheap: $30 for 30 minutes, and the time went quickly, but it was a productive, fun activity.

We took the train into the city Wednesday and the kids picked Shake Shack for lunch. The line wasn’t too long….

Shake Shack NYC on carpoolcandy.com

and we chowed on our burgers and fries.

Shake Shack NYC on carpoolcandy.com

Then we walked a few blocks to see Matilda on Broadway. Eli and I read the Roald Dahl book and we had been listening to the music in the car and explaining the plot to Aden.

Matilda on Broadway NYC on carpoolcandy.com

I was worried because Aden wasn’t so psyched when I told him I bought the tickets. But we all loved it! Amazing performances, inventive staging and dancing, and terrific music that we are still humming days later. I highly recommend!

My boys had never been to Dylan’s Candy Bar so after the show we headed east and wandered the sugar sanctuary for almost 45 minutes.

Dylan's Candy Bar NYC on carpoolcandy.com

Giant gummy bear and candy necklace!

I gave them each a $15 limit but still managed to spend an obscene amount of money I can’t think about ever again. Oh well. You only live once right?

Dylan's Candy Bar NYC on carpoolcandy.com

Like mice in a cheese factory….

Two friends and I took our boys to the city Thursday to walk around Chinatown. We had never been to Chinatown in NY and I thought we’d walk the streets, taking in the new culture, marveling at the colorful fruit and vegetable stands, and wandering into little shops.

Chinatown NYC on carpoolcandy.com

But I forgot I was with 7 boys whose only interest was consuming as much sesame chicken as their bellies could hold. The authentic eats at 456 Shanghai Cuisine didn’t disappoint. As you can see here, we tried a little bit of everything. The pork dumplings– both standard and soup– were gobbled up instantly, and the moo shu pork, shrimp and vegetables, chicken lo mien, and sautéed green beans were delicious. Nothing was greasy and no one felt sick 30 minutes after consuming an impressive amount of food. And the price is nice too. The lunch specials were just $5.75 each and came with soup and rice.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory on carpoolcandy.com

Although I couldn’t eat anymore, the children managed to cram in shakes and cones from the famous Chinatown Ice Cream Factory down the street. In addition to the standards, they have some very inventive flavors, including Black Sesame, Ginger, and Lychee. Thumbs up from the fellas.

NYC criminal court tour on carpoolcandy.com

Chinatown is very close to the Criminal Court building, where our friend Chris works, so the boys got a bonus tour of a courtroom and a holding cell.

NYC criminal court tour on carpoolcandy.com

We also stopped at the mecca of sneakers, a place called Flight Club, near Union Square. Literally hundreds of technicolored sneakers line the walls of this store and I couldn’t find a pair for less than $150.

Flight Club NYC shopping on carpoolcandy.com

Much like me at Bergdorf Goodman, the boys browsed the shelves, knowing they could never afford the laces of most of their coveted shoes.

Flight Club NYC shopping on carpoolcandy.com

A boy can dream…..

I must admit I enjoyed Flight Club from an anthropological perspective. It’s a whole culture of people who purchase, trade, and collect high-end sneakers and seeing so many creative designs made it feel like an exhibit in a modern art museum.

Flight Club NYC shopping on carpoolcandy.com

Check out the price tags on these babies! This is what thousand-dollar shoes look like

The prices of some of the shoes were as expensive as art– going up to the eye-popping $7,000 to 11,000 range! Who knew?

On Friday it was back to work for me so the boys had a free day to play with friends.

I asked them tonight what the highlights were of their break. Jacob groaned, which he does at any question I ask him of late.

Aden said “Everything!” I’ll take it!

Eli? After a detailed recap of all our adventures, he chose the playdate with his friend Kieran yesterday.

Can’t win ’em all.

 

 

 

 

I survived a 7-day cleanse- part 2 (the results)

Wow! Huge response to cleanse post part one! Many of you are fascinated by the idea and/or have your own experiences to share.

Now for the results….(drumroll please)……

Did I enjoy it?   I would say I appreciated the experience. It gave me the kickstart I needed to eat and feel better, and it reeducated me on healthy food and portion control.

Would I do it again?  As I said, the chocolate-flavored shakes smelled like baby formula and tasted like cement, no matter how many different ingredients I tried in them. BUT, I know my blender was not up to the task, and I tackled the cleanse with my friend Hope and she loved the shakes, and several of you commented saying you enjoyed the shakes too so it’s really personal preference. But no, I would not do this cleanse again, and probably wouldn’t do a liquid based cleanse for 7 days again. I missed solid food! But I might try a 3-day cleanse at some point, if I needed a restart. Or I would definitely do a no sugar/dairy/gluten/alcohol/caffeine cleanse that was food based.

Can you exercise while cleansing?   My nutrition and health coach friend, Pam, advised me not to do my regular exercise routines– especially cardio–which was horrifying news for a committed yogi like me who also runs and does other activities. But your body is exerting so much energy cleansing, and you don’t have enough food to give you the necessary energy to exercise at your regular intensity, so it’s best not to overdo it. By day 3, I was getting a dull headache and a bit nauseous if I overexerted myself, so I took a break until the cleanse ended.

Clean cleanse box on carpoolcandy.com

Did I lose weight?   I lost four pounds during that week. BUT I WASN’T EATING! So although I continued to eat a gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol and caffeine free diet for the next two weeks, I was eating more and gained back two pounds right away. BUT, I was able to lose some more weight once I started exercising again and continued eating cleanly. I’d say I kept off about 5 pounds. Then I went on vacation and had some wine and indulged in sweets and all bets were off. But I know if I went back to clean eating and was conscientious about it, I could lose extra pounds. It’s all about choices.

How much does it cost?   The CLEAN cleanse cost about $195. Starving yourself aint cheap! But what I learned and the recipes in the materials they give you, plus Pam’s great advice made it worth the price for me. There was also extra money I spent on food that week. Hope and I went to Whole Foods and loaded up on vegetables, nuts, various non-dairy milk products, almond butter, and other healthy snack food, so that was probably another $150. I looked at it as an investment in healthy eating and weeks later I still have a lot of the stuff.

What were the other challenges?   For one thing, I was a total beotch to my family for the last 5 days of the cleanse (they would say I should NEVER do it again!) I didn’t feel great on days 3-5: physically weak, tired, and very cranky, but also mentally resentful of everyone who was freely eating food around me. I took it as a personal affront when my sons scarfed down a bagel for breakfast and tried to suppress evil thoughts while making them pasta for dinner.

cleanse cartoonI would also say the time it takes to plan and prepare for every meal took a toll. I had to get up earlier in the morning to make the shake, and shop for the food I needed for lunch to bring to work or wherever I was going. I had to have the right, clean ingredients for meals and be prepared to make substitutions. I know– cleanse or not– that I should be thinking about what I’ll eat at the beginning of every week and each day, but I found it mentally exhausting and a time suck. But when I don’t plan ahead, I can make poor decisions.  

At meals, I rarely felt deprived and was actually happy with my clean choices. Clean eating can be delicious. I discovered chia and flax seed, ezekiel bread, and coconut milk. I rediscovered spinach salad, hard-boiled eggs, rice cakes, nuts, and brown rice pasta. Salmon has become a once-a week meal for us., with just olive oil and dill.

Shopping at Whole Foods for a 7-day cleanse  on carpoolcandy.com

Hope shopping for veggies at Whole Foods.

–What did I learn?   I’m not always hungry when I think I am and drinking a glass of water can satiate me during the day when I’m antsy and/or bored. It’s hard to drink 64 ounces a day, but I find ice and a straw helps a lot, and pouring the 64 ounces into a pitcher that sits on your desk or counter all day is motivating.

I like an iced coffee now and then but it’s a treat I don’t need and I barely missed it. I missed caffeine as a pick-me-up in my tea at work, but I survived. No alcohol during the week was easy, and while it was a sacrifice on the weekends, it’s doable for a few weeks at a time. I started drinking more vodka and tequila, which have less sugar and carbs than wine. I’ve found some great substitutes for carbs like pasta, bread and bagels and I feel better when I avoid them. And they taste amazing when I indulge.

The most difficult for me to give up was dairy and sugar. I eat non-fat organic yogurt a few times a week with fresh fruit or in a smoothie. I love eggs and often eat them as a source of protein. I love cheese, but I’ve basically given it up for several months now and lived to tell the tale.

Shopping at Whole Foods for a 7-day cleanse  on carpoolcandy.com

–The exceptions/Food I won’t give up  Pizza! But I don’t have 2-3 slices, I try to have one and a salad now. Cookies! I’ll give up bread and pasta, but don’t take away my cookies. Chocolate! Need I explain?

Life is too short to give up eating my favorite things. It’s all in moderation, so better that I enjoy eating what I love, than feeling completely deprived and binge down the road.

I actually liked reading the cleanse pamphlet about the efficiency of clean food in our digestive system, instead of all the crap I put in there. The process forced me to examine my intake and I realized I was eating way too many carbs. I thought I was being a conscientious eater by only consuming whole wheat bread, bagels, and crackers. But I was eating too much.

I needed to look at the whole day of eating and make choices by day– not by meal — to promote better digestion. I started making substitutions for traditional carbs.. I’m not going to say it tastes the same, but I found combinations that I can live with, like sun butter on a brown rice cake and turkey meat sauce on brown rice pasta.

And I didn’t feel like I had rocks in my belly after meals. I felt lighter. While I wanted to lose wight, my goal was really to make better choices to feel better. The cleanse definitely helped me do that.

I also was reminded that although I think I’m craving food, I often need something else. It’s usually sleep, but sometimes can be something to drink or a walk around the block to get the brain juices flowing. My go-to was always to have a snack , but now I’m trying to pay attention to why I’m reaching for that cracker. Mindful eating is key.

If you’re interested in trying a cleanse, I highly recommend you work with Pam from Wholefully Aware. Not only is she knowledgable and supportive, but during the cleanse, she was practically on-call 24-7 for questions about how I was feeling, what food choices to make, and what my personal blocks were in the process.

Would you do a cleanse? Tell me why or why not in the comments.